Ok… so it’s freezing here

Officially, Bytown Mom is not quite so Bytown anymore.  We moved to Seatle, Washington about a month ago.  I figured this would be a good time to get back and running with the blog.  Not becuase I don’t have enough to do with the new job, new house, move, etc, but rather becuase there have been many, many observations running through my head and I haven’t been able to share them with our friends and family (just got internet and phone running today).

So here’s the thing, it really is freezing here today.  At home in June I would either have the AC running, or I’d have the fan on in the house to get the cold air from the basement to the 2nd story.  Here the fan is running to get the warm air from upstairns down here to the main floor — where I am sitting in slippers and a sweater.  I refuse to turn on my furnace in June.

It is summy outside and looks gorgeous, but it is most decidedly chilly.  I need to adapt to this quickly as the boys are not dressed properly for school — I need to ship them in pants, shirts and sweaters.  Yesterday, Finn wore his fall coat inside all day, becuase I had put him in a t-shirt and shorts.  Oops.

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This time I think it is only me

Whether you’re a parent or a soon to be parent, one of the lessons you learn is that no matter how bizarre the situation may seem to you, you are not the only one out there going through that experience.  There are likely whole face book communities devoted to what ever your issue/challenge/concern might happen to be. 

 

Usually I find this a comforting thought.  But now, I think I’m out on my own limb.  I find myself saying the following at the dinner table:  you must eat something besides vegetables;  vegetables are good for you, but you need to have something else; no you cannot have dessert, you need to eat something besides vegetables for supper.

 

I am not a mom who makes two meals.  I am a mom who’s one year old picked out his beets and swiss chard out of supper and the yelled because there was no more.  I am a mom who’s three year old eats eat broccoli, peppers and tomatoes like hand fruit.  I am also a mom who is not complaining about the situation.  I just think we’re all a little weird.

Born to Exercize?

I think some people are hard wired to exercize and others are hard wired to do other stuff.  That’s not an excuse for those of us that fall into the later category.  Everyone needs to get their daily exercize.  It simply seems to me that some people crave it.

When I think of some of my neighbors (yes that’s plural intentionally) that are biking 60-120 minutes each way to work.  That to me says born for it (or crazy, but usually I go for the charitable built for it thought).  Then I read about these ladies at Squeeze It In and I thought – born for it.  Who thinks of this kind of stuff?  Yes, I’m chopping peppers for a salad, but let me do some leg lifts while I’m at it. This reminds me of pre-natal class whee they encouraged everyone to do their kegel exercizes when ever you found yourself waiting – at a red light, in the grocery store, at Tim Horton’s.

 This is good in concept, but isn’t your brain already in gear?  If when I was standing in line at Loblaws my brain said “oh… looks like I’m going ot be waiting in line for a while”, then maybe I’d say to myself: why don’t I do so isometric ab exercizes while I stand here? Instead, my brain is wondering:   if the kids fall asleep on the way home, will I have enough time to cut the grass before they wake up?  did I get the positioning right in the presentation for work?  did I remember to pick up milk?  oh yes… it’s here in the cart.  take that finger out of your nose (these last two parts are usually spoken aloud).

So clearly, I’m not ‘born to exercize’. I work at it.  And I shouldn’t make too much fun of the squeeze ladies, as my former colleague with the best bicepts and tricepts of everyone I know works out with soup cans.

Coupons & Other Bargains

I love a bargain.  I love to use coupons.  I don’t use them very often, but nevertheless, when I can get $3 off a package of diapers or laundry detergent, I’m pretty happy.  My biggest challenge with coupons is the same one I have with bringing my own bags: getting them out of the car and into the store.

My usual source for coupons is as mix of Canadian Freebie blog, Save.ca and random stuff that comes in the mail.  The trouble, with these sources, is that they are not often coupons for brands I usually buy.  They are coupons for big name consumer packaged goods.  Hence, I was so happy to learn about ‘The Healthy Shopper’.  These guys have coupons for all sorts of green, eco friendly, or just plain stuff I like.

I’ll still have trouble remembering to bring them into the store.  Perhaps I should store them in the re-useable bags.

Wanderlust and Lipstick

My new favorite travel blog.  These ladies quit their jobs, sold there stuff and started to travel.  Now it looks like they’ve figured out a way to pay for their adventures – through their web site, books and product sales. 

But that’s not why I love their site.  First of all, I love the name.  But more than that their focus on women travellers, travelling with kids is written in real time:  “I’m doing this and this didn’t work out as planned”, or I went about it this way, and am I ever glad I did.”  I’m also getting a ckick out of “Wanderfood Wednesday“.  The later is a collection of world food related posts from many different bloggers.

Never have I wanted a camera more

This... only in my front yart
This... only in my front yart

Usually we’re pretty good about bringing the camera with us where ever we go.  However the nightly family walk around the block is usually occasion to leave it at home. Not any more.  After tonight’s trip it’s going to be part of the check list:  two kids, dog, dog leash, dog bag, toy, shoes for everyone, keys and camera.

 

Just as we arrived home, we stopped to talk to a neighbor in the street.  As usual, adult chit chat is not terribly interesting to a three year old.  So he walked the rest of the way to our front yard.  Found his way into the middle of the garden, pulled down his pants and started to pee, facing the street.

Saving Money & Still Having Fun

There are so many fun things to do in the summer, both indoors and out. But as you have no doubt already noticed, most of them cost money. I started thinking about this after we paid $17 ($15 family entry + $2 parking) to go to the Herb Fest. It wasn’t even my money (thanks dad!), but I didn’t like the feeling that I/we had paid $17 so that people could sell us stuff (turns out the Herb Fest is mostly sales stalls).

This is why I love the library (see yesterday’s post), but the library is not the only freebie out there:

  • My guys love the splash pads. Run by the City of Ottawa, you can find them in almost every neighborhood. If I remember to bring along some bubbles then we are set for a whole morning/afternoon.
  • Shakespeare in the Park: We haven’t tried this one yet, but I think it’s going to be a riot. There are only two weeks of performances yet, so get your fix now.
  • Picking berries: this has worked well for us from +18 months. There’s definitely more eating than picking at 18 months, but by the time my guy hit 3, he could fill up a berry basket all on his own. Strawberries are the easiest to pick, but it’s nice to go to a farm that has other selections at their farm store, so you can bring home a bounty. Here’s a quick summary of local u-pick farms
  • Kids Sports: We live close to a local soccer field. It’s a great venue for baseball games, soccer games, ultimate and even the occasional cricket match. There’s no need for me to pay to see a game, when it’s just as much fun for my guys to watch kids that are 10-15 run around. Not to mention that my guys can run/walk/crawl and generally entertain themselves along the sidelines. The kids on the field love to have someone that’s not mom and dad cheering for them.
  • Nature Walks: I wish we did more of these. When I’m at home and thinking about what to do for the day, it always feels like this is a big deal to plan. But that’s entirely not the case. You can start at any point along the NCC path system and have a great walk. If you want something a bit more rugged, you can go to any NCC nature conservation area (such as: Stoney Swamp, Green’s Creek or Mer Bleu) and go for a trail walk. There’s no need to lug your gang all the way up to the Gatineau’s to enjoy nature in Ottawa

This is by no means an exhaustive list. What are some of your favorites?